Online Madness

These days the holiday season means searching online for shopping deals, holiday ring tones, season-themed screensavers and wallpapers. Political campaigns have pounced into cyberspace with a vengeance to find voters, using YouTube, MySpace, Facebook, AOL, Yahoo, and on and on…reaching out to the keyboard ticklers.

I decided to take a look at a couple of our YouTube placements and was pleased to see that a couple hundred thousand viewers have taken a look at Stop the Madness (EIC’s anti-drug anthem), which premiered in 1985 on the late NBC Friday Night Videos, as well as our skin cancer awareness and prevention PSAs, which premiered on CBS last year. The fact that the Internet has exposed hundreds of thousands of people to both old and new public service messages is an amazing anomaly in the do-good health communications field.

The fact is, reaching out to 200 thousand people with such messages using first-class mail would cost over $80,000. Placing the spots on television has its own costs, including many people hours, and limits exposure to each 10-, 15- or 30-second PSA airing window. Simply put, the Internet is making a difference not only in how people view media, but in what is available and what people are free to view.

Regardless of one’s opinion of how well “Stop the Madness” has held up over time (I like to consider it a classic.), I would never have guessed when producing it that it would have an audience today. And yes, when you read the comments on YouTube, you will see that those in the video now raise questions: pro football’s Lyle Alzado died from suspected drug use, David Hasselhoff has had his personal confrontations with alcohol use, and Whitney Houston has battled her own alleged addictions. However, the majority of the stars who donated their time and talents for the video have managed to live scandal-free lives. One of them is even the governor of a little state called California!

And you know what? Regardless of past, present or future personal problems, all of the celebrities featured made a commitment: they donated their time and talent to do something to tell young people to stay clear of drugs, that—as the lyrics state—“drugs are causing pain, so Stop the Madness, Stop the Madness now!” In its heyday, Stop the Madness was played in heavy rotation on TV and a dance remix was a hit in clubs throughout the country. It is a great surprise that STM has been re-discovered as modest as it may be. Though styles changes, the message of the song is still the message!

I am still grateful for the contributions of all of the stars involved in Stop the Madness, and I would personally welcome back any of these great people, including The Hoff and Whitney, to work with us as we move into and beyond our 25th anniversary this year. Addiction is a disease, not a scarlet letter, and recovery is a life-long process.

As we enter the holiday season, consider taking your own inventory…if you haven’t given of your time and talent, or made donations to help others, what you are waiting for? Your support of EIC now will last well into the future. If you are sharing yourself in the best interest of others, you are in good company and thank you.

My offering to you is a look back in time at EIC’s Stop the Madness video. Feel free to have a chuckle at the dated hairstyles and clothes, or even the direction—hey, it was made before MTV perfected the art of slick music videos!—but then take a look at the lyrics. Unfortunately, cocaine has made a resurgence and meth and other drugs have wreaked devastation on people throughout the country. We still need to stop the madness, and we need your support to do it.

I believe that together you and I can save a life today.
We can stop a killer from reaching into minds and throwing lives away.
Drugs are causing pain and everyone’s a loser in this deadly game that’s played.
It’s insanity. We know that dope is slavery.

And you know we’ve got to be free … come on now, we’ve got to stop the madness.
Stop the madness now.
Stop the madness.
Stop the madness now.

Tell me what you’re doing trying to get some pleasure from an empty high.
Only fools will tell you using drugs is really a victimless crime.
There are casualties standing at the graves of children.
Feel the tears they cry.

Take a stand today; maybe it’s your life you’ll save.
You know there’s got to be another way; everybody let me hear you say …

Stop the madness.
Stop the madness now.
Stop the madness.
Stop the madness now.

Brother, we heard your cry for some assistance.
Drugs are making your mind a man-made hell.

You thought that using dope would be a party.
Now you’re a prisoner in a cell crying to be free.

You wanna stop the madness.
Stop the madness now.
Stop the madness.
Stop the madness now.

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